Live Review: August Burns Red – “Leveler” (10th Anniversary Live Stream)!

When asked if Killswitch Engage would be doing any Anniversary touring, guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz made some comments about not living in the past and always wanting to push his band forward and not wanting to rest on their laurels; each to their own but honestly we feel like he’s missing something. Lancaster, Pennsylvanian Technical Metalcore Kings August Burns Red are a bang who have managed to achieve something that few others have. They live in the now and with each release challenge themselves and their fans with something new and impressive, while also celebrating their rich past by going out on Anniversary tours, which have been hugely successful. The year of the Great Plague threatened to derail the possibility of a 10th Anniversary tour for “Leveler” but the Jason Suecof (Bury Your Dead, Trivium, Carnifex) produced release was not to be denied so August Burns Red did something that a few other bands have done during their down time from touring. They re-recorded the 2011 release with modern production values and equipment while getting a trio of guests in Trivium guitarist and vocalist  

August Burn Red have always been a live force known for putting on a high energy live show, something which we’ve had the pleasure of on the “Phantom Anthem” and “Constellations” 10th Anniversary tours in recent years so the question really was always going to be, could they capture that lightning in a bottle and deliver that calibre of performance without an audience? The answer to that one, is very much a resounding yes! Frontman Jake Luhrs is as ever the showman, dancing during the Latin moments and solos of “Internal Cannon“, clapping and headbanging his way through each track. The stage is exactly as ABR would have it set out for a live show; a split level with a raised kit for Matt Greiner to deliver his percussive battery from surrounded by pyro cannons shooting jets of flame into the air, a trio of stage blocks that the other band members step onto an off of at various points during each cut with just one mic’d up for the caustic backing vocals of bassist Dustin Davidson. Unlike most of the live streams we’ve had the pleasure of, Luhrs acknowledges the audience as if this one was a regular live show in front of an in house audience, calling for hand claps, fists in the air and for us to put on our dancing shoes, all things that maybe small but make a real difference to the viewing experience.

The DJent fuelled riffs and blast beats of “Cutting the Ties” sound as fresh as ever and “Pangaea” is an absolute triumph, the light show is state of the art with lasers and dry ice also providing atmospherics; although sadly none of the guests who appear on the re-released album appear at this show although former This Or The Apocalypse bassist Rodney Phillips does. “Poor Millionaire” is dedicated to Ryan Kirby with an offer of shows together, the guitar solo from bassist Davidson a real ripper and he then shows off yet more of his undoubted talent during a drum solo segment with Greiner at the end of the title track itself. “Leveler” as an album is just under an hour so at the end of the live stream, as we have been at previous ABR Anniversary shows, we’re treated to a 20 minute encore, all from 2009’s “Constellations“. “Meridian” sees Luhrs play bass (one of four different people to play bass during the set) and Davidson guitar for a full on string attack before the hard hitting breakdowns and stunning leads of the colossus that is “Thirty and Seven” comes in swinging. “White Washed” brings the house down as Luhrs roars “You’re the straw that’s crushing my back, You are the salt that’s burning my wounds!” and you know it’s been a blast when you don’t want the show to end. Long may the purveyors of Angry Music For Happy People continue [9/10]

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